The NHL released the 2013-14 schedule on Friday.
The biggest bit of news is that there is a scheduled break for the Olympics despite there not being a firm deal to send NHL players to Sochi as of yet.
Also included was the long-awaited naming of the four new Divisions created through re-alignment.
The Metropolitan is made up of the Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Atlantic has the Maple Leafs, Canadiens, Senators, Sabres, Red Wings, Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Central has the Jets, Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues.
The Pacific has the Canucks, Flames, Oilers, Sharks, Los Angeles Kings, Phoenix Coyotes and Anaheim Ducks.
Obviously none of these division names are new except for the Metropolitan Division, which was an odd choice for a name but what the hell, I'm excited to see Superman competing there next season.
With the new schedule released you can start planning out your draft with teams to focus on for their respective schedules. DobberHockey’s Bob Fisher already has his Same Night Tool out for this exact purpose. It’s an invaluable tool that can help you maximize your number of games played.
Also check out Bob’s weekly Looking Ahead pieces throughout the season to help you maximize games played on a week by week basis. I use it all the time!
The St. Louis Blues re-signed forward Chris Stewart on Friday.
This signing was inevitable after the Blues dealt David Perron to the Oilers for Magnus Paajarvi. I think the Blues looked at the interest teams had in Stewart and RFAs in general and decided they wouldn't get much in return so it was better to keep Stewart and move another guy who could bring a better return. If you look at the deal as Perron and whatever compensation picks Stewart might have yielded the Blues for Stewart, Paajarvi and the Oilers 2014 second rounder the trade becomes much more palatable.
I still think Blues fans would have preferred to have kept Perron over Stewart but that wasn't really an option after they signed Derek Roy. Now you could certainly make the argument that they'd also rather not have signed Roy if it was going to cost them Perron but that's another story.
This means that St. Louis continues to be a crowded joint. They have so many talented forwards I won't dare to mention them but suffice it to say that they have at least 10 forwards who could all play top six minutes on another team. I do think that there's room for someone to emerge as a scoring star there – Ken Hitchcock isn't allergic to offense – but it's going to require someone to take a leap into stardom.
I'm looking squarely at Vladimir Tarasenko when I say that because there isn't another star forward on the Blues. The rest are complimentary guys. If Tarasenko wants it though, he could score like Nash in Columbus or maybe